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Tuesday, 10 December

New Museum Brings Life to Poland's Jewish History

A new ‘core exhibition’ in Poland’s capital, Warsaw, opened this week, celebrating the contribution that the Jewish people made to the country’s life and times.

Part of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews which opened in April 2013, it looks at the 1,000-year association between Jews and their Slavonic neighbours.

The core exhibition is divided into seven historical periods beginning in the tenth century, coming forward to the present, and looking at the future.

The history has been a troubled one and culminated in the Holocaust, which was referred to in his opening address by the President of Poland, Bronis?aw Komorowski. “In the collective Jewish memory Poland has become primarily a gigantic cemetery of their nation. The black cape of mourning and sadness has covered the memory of the lush multinational life. It is with this image that in Poland, in Israel and in the diaspora grew new generations that lacked adequate knowledge about the world before the Holocaust.”

While over 1 million people visit Auschwitz and other sites every year to remember the Holocaust, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, was built to show the colourful and rich contribution Polish Jews have made to the country. It is situated on the site of the old Jewish Ghetto which was destroyed by the Nazis during the April 1943 Uprising.

The rather ordinary glass exterior houses the various periods in Jewish life and Poland’s development. The building as a whole was designed by Finnish architect, Rainer Mahlamäki. It has 12,800m2 of useable space.

One-third of this area is now occupied by the core exhibition. The remainder comprises temporary exhibition areas, a multi-purpose auditorium that can host conferences, film screenings, concerts, plays and other events, an education centre, two screening rooms, a restaurant and café.The construction was funded by the City of Warsaw and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and was carried out by Polimex-Mostostal.

 

Picture: The rich contribution that Jews have made to Poland’s history is contained in the new ‘core exhibition’, which opened this week and is part of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw

Article written by Mike Gannon

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